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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
October 8, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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October 8, 2014

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6A Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014 Feather River Bulletin PDH reports continued improvement Debra Moore Staff Writer Plumas District Hospital is seeing more patients and performing more procedures, but it is still struggling to turn a profit. So hospital CEO Dr. Jeff Kepple is focused O n taking actions that will improve the bottom line, but remain in keeping with the hospital's mission of providing quality care. During the hospital's board of directors meeting Oct. 2, Kepple discussed four strategies to bring in more revenue. "Continued recruitment of top-notch physicians" leads Kepple's list. He is interviewing four promising candidates who would be available next summer. In evaluating potential new physicians, Kepple considers where they attended medical school and completed their residencies, areas of specialties, types and numbers of procedures, and their hobbies. "ffthey say backpacking or fishing" Kepple said he knows that they are good candidates for the area. With regard to residency programs, Kepple announced that PDH will be an elective six-week rotation for those in the UC San Francisco resident program on the Contra Costa campus. "It's a very competitive residency program," Kepple said and is excited by the quality of the doctors who will rotate through the hospital. There is no cost other than providing room and board for the individuals. Kepple also sees residency as an opportunity to recruit new physicians. Second, the hospital has applied to be licensed for six swing beds so patients can receive care locally. Those who would utilize swing beds are patients who have been released from an acute care hospital, but need additional time to convalesce. building. The cost is $75. Kepple announced that the hospital will begin offering low-cost lab screenings every two months beginning in January. The fee will be more than the $75 charged during the health fair, but far less than what is normally charged. Doctor's report Dr. Erin Barnes reported that despite the rumors, she will be returning to her practice following her maternity leave in February. In giving her monthly report, she also noted that doctors are statfmg all Feather River College home football games, and Dr. Steen Jensen is attending the Quincy High games. Hospital staff recently attended grand rounds training on infectious disease control. "We got an update on Ebola and enterovirus," Barnes said. Dr. Jeff Kepple, right, the CEO of Plumas District Hospital, meets with his Counterpart from Renown Regional Medical Center, Dr. Anthony Slonim. The two hospital executives signed an affiliate agreement in Quincy on Oct. 3, acknowledging the strong working relationship between the two medical centers. Photo submitted Mammograms The new digital mammography machine has arrived and is being certified. Appointments are now being made for service in late October. Directors John Kimmel and Valerie Flanigan both shared recent personal experiences in which having that option available for family members made a difference. Third, there will be a continued focus on performing more surgeries. The addition of surgeon Dr. Mark Williams has already resulted in increased procedures, and orthopedist Dr. John Foley plans to do more surgeries locally as well. Finally, Kepple discussed the collaboration between the three hospitals in the county. He, and Tom Hayes from Eastern Plumas Health Care, and Linda Wagner from Seneca, have met and are looking at a number of avenues to collaborate on including securing grants and sharing staff. In another show of collaboration, Kepple announced that he was meeting with the CEO of Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, Dr. Anthony Slonim, the following day to sign an affiliate agreement. Kepple explained it doesn't mean that patients will be directed there rather than to Enloe Medical Center or St. Mary's Hospital, but it does recognize the positive relationship between the two organizations. Renown has donated equipment to Plumas District Hospital and continues to provide most of the grand rounds education. The Adopt-a-Room Program is proceeding. Kepple reported that the architect's drawings are now being reviewed by the state and he is hopeful that renovation work can begin on patient rooms in November. Fall Health Fair The fall health screening is underway this week from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m., Oct. 6 - 9, in the North Fork Family Medicine Directors' comments Director John Kimmel reviewed the number of procedures completed at the hospital in August and said he was pleased to see the increases. "The current numbers show things are improving," Kimmel said. Director Kathy Price said she has received some complaints about the survey for,ms patients have been receiving. Kepple explained that they are a national mandate and are an attempt to measure the level of care provided throughout J the nation. He said some of the questions may seem rudimentary, but they have proven to be a good barometer for the quality of care given and at some point will affect the reimbursement rate for the hospital. Hospital board meetings are held the first Thursday of each month at 4:30 p.nn. Animal blessing scheduled The Community United Methodist Church and Our Savior Lutheran Church will hold a Blessing of the Animals service on Sunday, Oct. 12, at 2 p.m. in front of the Methodist church at 282 Jackson St. Pet blessings have traditionally been done in honor of the Feast Day of St. Francis on Oct. 4. St. Francis is the patron saint of animals because he was known to call all creatures his sisters and brothers. He preached that the world was created good and beautiful by God but suffers because of human sin, and that it is the duty of humans to protect and enjoy nature as its stewards. The short Blessing of the Animals service will include songs, Scripture reading, prayer and individual blessing of each pet present. All friendly and well-behaved pets are welcome. There will be separate sections for cats, dogs and other animals. Pets must be kept on a leash or in a carrier and must have identification in case of escape. Pets that are aggressive or nervous may be represented with a photo. Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets. PAID POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT Putting Students First My School Board member priorities: I will put students first and help Plumes Unified School District provide the highest quality education for our children. I will be an objective and informed board member. I will work with all Plumas County communities, parents, students, employees and unions to guide Plumes Unified School District through these challenging times. Experiences that have helped prepare me to serve on the school board: I have been an involved parent in my child's education in Plumes Unified Schools for six years. I have been a regular classroom and community volunteer and PTA member. I served as chair of the Chester/Lake Almanor 7-11 committee, one of four committees established in each of the major Plumes communities to examine school facilities and district operations. The Plumas County Grand Jury praised the work of these groups saying they "took on a huge task and did an incredible job." Last year I served on the Budget Austerity committee established by the superintendent to make recommendations to the school district on how to improve district fiscal management and balance the budget. Serving on Budget Austerity Committee and as chair of the 7-11 Committee provided me with firsthand knowledge of the inner workings of the district. This will help me, as a board member, to plan for student and district needs and help avoid crises de- cision-making. I have been a resident of Plumes County for 14 years with family roots for over 50 years. I direct an organization with an average 7 million dollar annual budget that includes managing both federal and state funding streams. I understand that school district budgets are different from other enterprises, but my experience in managing budgets is a great My Vision: The district has been through difficult times over the past few years. Balancing the budget is necessary but does not have to be done in ways that compromise our children's education. My husband and I want our child and all others in the district to receive the best public education. Tough decisions are needed, and these can I done while improving communication, trust, and respect in Plumas Unified School District. I am willing and eager to devote the time and energy that the communities, students, teachers, and staff deserve as a member of the School Board. Vote for Traci Hol "The Right Choice"